School of Built Environment & Development Studies

Humanities Academic Awarded Prestigious VC Research Award

Professor Hangwelani Magidimisha-Chipungu.
Professor Hangwelani Magidimisha-Chipungu.

Professor Hangwelani Magidimisha-Chipungu of the School of Built Environment and Development Studies has been awarded the prestigious

UKZN Vice-Chancellor’s Research Award in recognition of her outstanding achievements and the international reputation she has earned in her discipline.

‘I am very excited about the award.  I would not have made it without the conducive environment UKZN provided for me to grow and excel,’ said Magidimisha-Chipungu. ‘I am also indebted to my husband and children who are always there when I need them most. This award is a huge motivation for me to continue working hard.’

‘It also a reminder that South Africa is full of possibilities and opportunities open to all those prepared to work hard and be consistent which is the best way to achieve excellence.’

Dean and Head of the School Professor Ernest Khalema said: ‘We are all proud of her trailblazing research leadership and thank the University and our VC for recognising her efforts.’

Magidimisha-Chipungu is UKZN’s chair on the SA Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI) on Inclusive Cities making her the youngest chairholder at the University. She is an NRF-rated researcher and made history as the first black South African-born woman to graduate with a PhD in Town and Regional Planning from the University. She is also the first black South African-born woman to be appointed Associate Professor in Town and Regional Planning at UKZN with a Masters in the same field from UKZN.

Magidimisha-Chipungu’s awards include being among the 2018 Mail & Guardian top 200 Young Influential South Africans, UKZN’s 2018 Best Young Academic, the College of Humanities Teaching Excellence Award, and the International Society of City and Regional Planning Award of Excellence for the outstanding role she played during the Young Professional Planners’ workshop and her participation in organising the Congress in September 2016.

The author and co-author of more than 50 book chapters and peer-reviewed journal articles, she recently published a work titled Housing in the Aftermath of the Fast Track Land Reform Programme in Zimbabwe.

In 2019 she co-authored the book Spatial Inequalities in South African Cities: Towards Redistributive Justice and was awarded funding by NRF to undertake research on spatial inequality – a project she recently completed.

Magidimisha-Chipungu served on the City Planning Commission for the eThekwini Municipality with a strategic responsibility of advising the executive committee and councilors in the municipality. She has served on the advisory committee of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA-KZN) with a focus on spatial equity in the province.

She is a board member of SACPLAN – a national professional body that governs the teaching and practice of town planning in South Africa. As a professional town planner, she also served on the KwaZulu-Natal Tribunal which had a mandate to resolve town planning disputes in the province.

Magidimisha-Chipungu was one of only a few people invited to take part in a 24-Hour City project with the University of Politecnico di Milan DAStU – Department of Architecture and Urban Studies in Florence, Italy. 

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